Friday, September 13, 2013

This Week in Education…

I’ve just finished my second week of Kindergarten with SugarPlum (5). It’s quite the adventure. I’m recording our book lists and some of the games and activities we’ve enjoyed at Classical Explorations. The content and style is quite different from what I usually write here so I’ve opted to post on a separate blog. Every week or two I will compile the posts from Classical Explorations into a single post which I’ll put up here. I hope you take a peek at a post or two. The ideas certainly aren’t just for people who use Classical Conversations as their core curriculum or even just for homeschoolers. Never let a good book list go to waste.
blogger-image-557985143 An almost comprehensive list of library books I’m using for our study of ecology.
IMG_3014 Our super fun active geography review game.
Every week a group of 8 4-6 year olds join us for a morning of learning through games, art, activities, and play. This is what we’re doing next week.
Original image from
closet I’ve had it. I’m breaking dustbunny hearts.
blogger-image--1135310145 A list of the core books I’ve picked out for our first week of school.
blogger-image--1981265361 Modern Slate. I love this erasable whiteboard. It’s cheap and environmentally friendly.

Friday, August 16, 2013

All About Owls

Mini-Man turned one last week. We celebrated with loads of crazy owls. So many people commented on how cute it turned out that I thought I would share my inspiration for the theme.

The balloon owls were inspired by the owl party decorations at Pinning with a Purpose. I was going to hang them from the ceiling too, but I ran out of time. There were owls galore anyway and nobody missed them.

The balloon owls may not have been hanging from the ceiling, but they inspired a whole tree. The trunk is cut from a roll of craft paper. The oak leaves were printed onto card stock from this template at I printed out a couple on copy paper and arranged them so that I could fit two on each sheet and then photocopied it onto green card stock. The lighter colored leaves are from the same template but reduced in size so that four leaves fit on one page of cardstock. If I did this again, I would definitely use a non-lobed leaf template.

The owl sandwiches, pretzel branches, and grape foliage were inspired by this post over at fleeting thing. We also had turkey and cheese sandwiches with cucumbers and black olives for eyes but I didn't get a picture of those.

The flock of owl cupcakes were modeled on this picture on Pinterest. We removed the tops of double stuffed oreos and then pressed m&ms into the filling for the eyes. You can't really split the filling so I put all of those lonely tops into a ziploc bag. I'll have chocolate cookie crumbs for a cheesecake crust later.  The beak is a whole cashew.  I used the Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate Ganache Cupcake recipe. It's so easy. Press the oreos into the ganache as soon as you dip the cupcakes and they will adhere to the top. No mess. No fuss. Just don't bake the cupcakes as long as the recipe says. I did 25 minutes but I would recommend starting at 22 or 23.

The picture which inspired these little gift bags used doilies for the owls' tummies but none of the kids seemed to care that my version was rather slap and dash: strips of colored copy paper adhered to a paper bag with a loop of tape. 

Maybe this will give you some ideas for an owl party of your own. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When Good Enough Is Perfect

On Memorial Day, it took me until six o'clock to realize that while mini-me might appreciate fun decorations and a cookout with friends, she didn't really want a photo-shoot worthy spread. She didn't need one. I didn't need one. What she needed, what she wanted was me, me to just stop and be, not me rushing around trying to create some idyllic staged meal with chic decorations. Not me doing nothing because I couldn't pull off perfection.

At the time she was obsessed with picnics. She had one with the neighbor boy every single day. So I told her to go ahead, and she lugged the old jean quilt out onto the deck all by herself. I stirred some barbecue sauce into leftover pork, set out bread, washed some strawberries. Voila! A picnic. 

It really was that easy. The next part was not. I bit my tongue. I didn't apologize because I hadn't made the deviled eggs I'd promised earlier, or because we didn't have potato chips, or fancy napkins, or friends. 

Mini-man pulled out his own slice of bread, ate half of it, lost the other half in crumbs, crawled through them to reach the strawberries. He was so determined that I gave in and gave him a taste. He ate two. The juice ran down his chin. Pale pink circles grew gradually larger as the juice seeped into his overalls. Mini-me made her own sandwich without spilling so much as a drop of sauce. The air was filled with smiles and little triumphs.

What makes good enough not good enough is apologizing for it--apologizing that it is not something else, that you are not something else, refusing to revel in the beautiful imperfect moment.

Revel. Good enough is perfect 
when we allow it to be. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013


If I introduced myself as a juggler, I apologize. I dream of being a juggler, sometimes for a few glorious moments I believe that I am a juggler, but I am not a juggler. I spend a lot more time on my knees groping through dustbunnies searching for dropped balls than I do keeping them perpetually arcing through the air in a glorious circuit. 

Every week or two I find myself clutching one last ball in disbelief. It's always rather hard to face up to your throbbing toe and missing balls when you envision yourself keeping at least a dozen flaming chainsaws (I mean, why stop at torches?) in the air all at once. When you're a Mom and you get down to one ball that means people get food and clothes and that's it. When you're down to one ball you can't even guarantee that the floor is clean. 

There is a part of me that really wishes I was ball-size. I could just roll right after them into the odd corner, make friends with the dustbunnies, and never have to come out, never drop anything on my toes, never be left red-faced from embarrassment and exertion staring at the world clutching my one ball. 

I watch other women juggle. Some of them are truly amazing. Very few of them successfully juggle the things I dream of juggling, but then I usually don't take laws like physics and gravity into account in my dreams. Many of them (most even?) are quite a bit better at it than I am. 

I'm not really concerned with what they juggle though, or if they're better. I'm just trying to figure out what exactly I ought to be picking back up (since physics and gravity do exist) and exactly what rhythm I have to hit to keep everything in the air. I tend to pick up too many things. Like facebook, and twitter, and then "Bam!" splat goes the blog. 

It's getting easier to figure out which balls need to be picked back up (like sketching), when I can toss in another one (Hello! Is this an actual blog post?), and which ones need to be left to make friends with the dust bunnies. I've gotten so good at retrieving the things I drop that the dust bunnies actually had to move elsewhere. 

I don't write for the people who can keep a dozen chainsaws in the air all at once, I write for the people who, like me, drop their three little measly colored coded balls on their toes. I write to let them that know that there is no shame in goose eggs and bandaged toes.